Western Trips

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Waco Mammoth National Monument

If your travels take you to or through Waco, Texas, the Waco Mammoth National Monument is a  unique travel stop and one you'll totally enjoy. The site was officially named a national monument in 2015 which also makes it a part of the National Park System.

waco mammoth national monumentWaco Mammoth National Monument is a paleontological site protecting the only nursery herd of Columbian mammoths in the U.S. Visitors enjoy tours and fossil viewing. The national park features fossils of female mammoths, a bull mammoth, and an ancient relative of camels, an antelope, alligator, giant tortoise, and more.

 The national monument is in 100 acres of wooded parkland along the Bosque River. The Columbian mammoth is now extinct. It lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, known as the Ice Age, and lived in North America from southern Canada to as far south as Costa Rica.

For a few decades, what stood at the site of this national monument was essentially a circus tent. What was of special interest however were the elephant fossils below. What was found were Columbian mammoths that were still preserved in their death position which occurred some 60,000 years ago after floodwaters left them buried in mud.

The Site's Discovery 

columbian mammoth fossils
The site was first discovered by accident in 1978, when two 19-year-olds looking for arrowheads along a dry riverbed found mammoth bones. Paleontologists at Baylor University were notified.  The bone was brought to Baylor University's Strecker Museum where it was identified as the femur of a Columbian mammoth, the larger distant relative of the wooly mammoth.

With this information, excavations were undertaken which led to surprisingly rich finds. Within a decade, sixteen Columbian mammoths were foundand lifted out of the ground using plaster jackets. A second excavation located six more mammoths, a camel and the tooth of a saber-tooth cat.

What killed these mammoths so long ago has not been solidly determined. There is no trace of human involvement and the bones do not appear to be disturbed by scavengers. One idea was that the mammoths were caught in some type of flash flood. Another is that they were trapped from rising water from the adjacent Bosque River. It's felt that subsequent floods buried the remains and also  trapped and killed the bull, juvenile and female mammoths. 
Visiting the Waco Mammoth National Monument

waco fossil photosWhat visitors will see today at the Waco Mammoth National Monument is a modern climate controlled dig shelter that could pass for an art gallery. The shelter has an abundance of natural light from all directions and a suspended walkway that provides a terrific overhead view of the mammoths. 

The national monument is managed in partnership by the National Park Service, the City of Waco, and Baylor University. According to the National Park Service, Tour guides will lead you from the Welcome Center, down a 300 yard paved path to the Dig Shelter where mammoth fossils are in situ (still in their original position within the bone bed). During your tour, you will learn about the Ice Age, how the fossils were discovered, and why this site is one of the most important paleontological finds in North America. The tour is educational and interesting and takes a relatively short time, perhaps 30-45 minutes.The Monument is easily accessible via personal vehicle, bus, or motor home.

For more information and a detailed map of the Monument's location see nps.gov/waco/planyourvisit/index.htm

For a list of all the mammoth sites in the U. S. see  nps.gov/waco/learn/mammoth_sites_in_usa.htm 

texas travel ideas

waco texas attractions

(Photos copyright Western Trips)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Visit Cheyenne, Wyoming / The Cowboy Capital of the World

When you think of Cheyenne, Wyoming one of the first things that comes to mind is the old west. Indeed, Cheyenne played a large role during the time settlers spread across western America. Of course today Cheyenne means more than westward expansion during the 1800's but there is plenty to see regarding this in present day Cheyenne and it's very well worth the visit.

cheyenne train depot
Cheyenne's Union Pacific Depot
Cheyenne is located in the southeast corner of Wyoming in Laramie County. Its said that the town's name was given by Native Americans. In the instances of Fort Laramie to the north, Laramie City to the west, and Laramie County it is said that these were named after an early French fur trapper who roamed the region known as Jacques La Ramie.

As a side historical note, Wyoming was the first state to pass women's suffrage. The statue photo further down in this article commemorates this and was gifted to Cheyenne in 2011. The plaque beneath the statue says, "Gifted to the citizens of Cheyenne, WY in recognition of the role of women in settling the west, and Wyoming being the first state to grant women the right to vote."

Cheyenne and the Union Pacific-The Railroad Town 

There is no question that the railroad expanding westward after the end of the Civil War created many a town. Cheyenne's first residents were men who moved west to work on the transcontinental railroad.
The Union Pacific railroad company dominated the Cheyenne railways throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The transcontinental railroad marked the first large-scale, federally sanctioned construction in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Union Pacific while building their section of the transcontinental railroad originally built their rails through Cheyenne because it was the easiest terrain to cut through. When the UP did this they brought mechanized travel to the west along with commercial development and settlers. The Union Pacific put Cheyenne on the map and during the 1800's brought thousands of passengers to Cheyenne and beyond. Not that the railroads made stagecoach travel obsolete, because there was a great need to transport people from the railroad depots to smaller settlements and to the mines. In fact, The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company was established to transport passengers and cargo between the railroad depot and the mines. A historic note of significance is that when electric lights were installed in Cheyenne in 1882, it was the wealthiest city per capita in the world. Quite an impressive fact

union pacific cheyenne
Old Union Pacific Depot and Museum

Cheyenne Depot Museum is located inside the historic Union Pacific Railroad depot. Typically the Cheyenne Depot Museum hosts an annual Steam Train Excursion in July.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

The Cheyenne Frontier Days is considered the world's largest outdoor rodeo and Western Celebration. This has been an event which began in 1897. The first Frontier Days event was held as a cowboy roundup that featured bronco busting, steer roping contests and pony races.
Cheyenne Frontier Days is now a ten day festivalof rip-roarin' excitement, featuring the world's best PRCA rodeo action and Western entertainment. It's non-stop activity and hospitality at its Western best! Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place the last full week of July.

A popular event during the Frontier Days is the Grand Parade. This ninety minute parade is held at 9 a.m. both Saturdays and Tuesday and Thursday of the celebration. This parade is big. There are floats, marching bands, antique carriages, automobiles and horses with riders in period dress.

old town cheyenne wyoming
 Old Town Cheyenne 

Touring Old Town Cheyenne is a walk through it's past. Historic buildings include the old Union Pacific Depot and the beautiful Tivoli Building.The Richardson Brothers put up the Tivoli Building in 1892. It was popular with cowboys who came to Cheyenne for Frontier Days. The building was bought in 1919 by a Polish immigrant and served as a clothing store and after that an upscale bar.

Enjoy the Trolley

Take a tour on the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley. It operates the second week of May through September. The ninety minute tour includes stops at various attractions, allowing riders to disembark for the attraction, and then re-board the next trolley 90 minutes later.

Visit Fort Laramie

Today, Fort Laramie is a National Historic Site. This famous military outpost 100 miles north of Cheyenne played a major role in settling the west. It was a crossroad to the west.

The site was at first a fur trade post and then became a military outpost. Here, for 56 years successive waves of trappers, traders, Native Americans, missionaries, emigrants, soldiers, miners, ranchers and homesteaders interacted and left their mark on a place that would become famous in the history of the American west - Fort Laramie.

cheyenne wyoming new beginning statue
"A New Beginning"
The park is located in Southeast Wyoming approximately 100 miles north of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 55 miles west of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Cheyenne Area Outdoor Activities 

Curt Gowdy State Park is located 24 miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming and 24 miles east of Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to camping, boating, fishing, Curt Gowdy State Park has over 35 miles of trails. The trails are very well designed and suitable for any skill level. The trails range in elevation from 6800 to 7600.

The park was established in 1971 by the city of Cheyenne and the Boy Scouts. Originally named Granite State Park, in 1972 the name was changed to the Curt Gowdy State Park. The park is named after sportscaster Curt Gowdy who was a Wyoming native and was raised in Cheyenne.

See additional Western Trips articles found on the links below..

Fun Travel in the Mountain West

Mesa Verde National Park

The Pole Mountain section of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest lies just 30 minutes west of Cheyenne. 

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest covers more than 2.2 million. The Pole Mountain section of this very large national forest is just 30 minutes west of Cheyenne. Before 1959, this 55,000 acre area was operated by the nation's War Department for military training. This area is now managed by the US Forest Service. Plenty of great recreational opportunities including hiking, fishing, camping is available. The Tie City and Happy Jack Trailheads provide the most popular starting points for dozens of trails for hikers and bikers of every level of experience. The trailheads are also home to numerous picnic and campground sites.

For up to date information regarding scheduled events and activities in Cheyenne, Wyoming see www.cheyennecity.org 

For detailed information about the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, activities, maps and directions see www.fs.usda.gov/mbr

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Tahoe Maritime Center – Museum & Gardens

The Tahoe Maritime Museum is a tribute and showcase for Lake Tahoe's classic wooden boat history. High in the Sierra Nevada range at Tahoe City, California is a unique museum that chronicles the history of wood boats.

tahoe maritime museum
Tahoe Maritime Center
The Tahoe Maritime Museum maintains a program of permanent and annually rotating exhibits that present stories and artifacts of Tahoe’s maritime past. 

These exhibits are open to the public year-round, and highlight the histories of Tahoe’s people and places. The museum's stated goal is to... strive to encourage an interest in, increase knowledge of, and maintain watercraft and marine artifacts significant in Lake Tahoe’s maritime history through the highest standards of historic preservation, innovative interpretation and public education.

Lake Tahoe and the Beautiful Woodies

Woodies had their heyday in Lake Tahoe from the 1920s through the 1950s, longer than in other wealthy enclaves across the country thanks to the number of Civilian Conservation Corps jobs that buoyed the region during the Great Depression. But Tahoe’s love affair with the mahogany runabouts dates back to the early 1900s.

With their rich woods and powerful engines, woodies remain the epitome of luxury and leisure in the modern era of fiberglass and jet engines. Events celebrating the wooden speedboats in Lake Tahoe started nearly as soon as companies stopped making them, with the first Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance held in 1972. 

classic wood boats
Lake Tahoe Concours d’ Elegance

In 1972 a group of Tahoe Yacht Club members and friends got together to share their passion for wooden boats. From this modest beginning, the Lake Tahoe Concours d’ Elegance has grown to play a significant role in the wooden boat community, as well as the Lake Tahoe maritime community.

 Since its induction in 1994 the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation has hosted the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance focusing on the continuing growth of the show, the quality of boat exhibits, the highest of judging standards and practices, and most importantly, sharing the passion of wooden boats between exhibitors and public.The Museum maintains a program of permanent and annually rotating exhibits that present stories and artifacts of Tahoe’s maritime past.  These exhibits are open to the public year-round, and highlight the histories of Tahoe’s people and places.

Concours dreams and achievements are validated with first, second and third-place awards “in class” and with the presentation of special Perpetual trophies going to the most meticulously-restored, highest-point boats. Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation now has 17 of these special trophies made possible by the generous assistance of endowers, many who have competed and won their own share of precious “Concours silver, crystal, and mahogany” over the past 44 years of this event.


Thunderbird Lake Tahoe is home to America’s most recognizable—and possibly most valuable—wooden speedboat, the venerable Thunderbird yacht. Since America’s Great Depression, Thunderbird has transported guests in opulent luxury between high-mountain estates and luxury resorts.

There is lots to be said about the THUNDERBIRD, which is a 55 foot express speedboat designed by John Hacker and built by Huckins in 1939 for Captain George Whittell, a reclusive millionaire who owned most of Tahoe's east shore at the time.

thunderbird lake tahoe
The Thunderbird was launched on July 14, 1940 at Tahoe Boat Company, where she still lives, and was kept in a boathouse specially built by Whittell. THUNDERBIRD was originally powered by twin Kermath 550 hp engines.

William F. Harrah, who purchased it from Whittell in 1962. Harrah had it transported to his Automobile Collection restoration shop in Reno where it was reverentially refurbished. His workmen added a matching, brushed stainless steel flying bridge and replaced the original Kermath engines with two V-12 Allison aircraft engines, each developing 1100 horsepower. Harrah used it as his private yacht for the entertainment of his casino high-rollers and showroom headliners, such as Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra and Bill Cosby, to name a few. The boat was returned to Reno every winter where the mahogany hull was meticulously sanded down to bare wood and refinished with ten coats of varnish!

Ownership of the yacht was recently transferred to Foundation 36, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Nevada's natural, cultural, and historic treasures. The yacht will now remain berthed in its original boathouse at the Thunderbird Lodge and can be viewed during tours of the old Whittell estate.

lake tahoe boats
High Hopes
High Hopes 

The High Hopes,  is unique in as much as it is the only 19 footer that has three cockpits. These were requester by the boat's owner and was completed at the factory. Built in 1937, the High Hopes has a M2 Chrysler Crown engine. The craft has been beautifull  restored and it's engine rebuilt. The High Hopes home port was Lake Minnetonka.

You may enjoy these additional articles regarding the Lake Tahoe area found on the links below...

Gatekeepers Museum

Little Known History of Lake Tahoe

Vite Vite 

The Vite Vite is considered a classic Lake Tahoe boat. The vessel was built in 1961 and is 16 feet long. The boat has a Chevrolet 283 V-8 engine.

wooden boat builders
Vite Vite from Besotes Boats
The craft was built by Besotes Boats. Besotes Boats were manufactured in Stockton, California.The Besotes brothers originally were building bodies for pick up trucks. They changed over to speed  boat building and were building boats for themselves when customers came around requesting that they build boats for them. It's estimated that from 1950 to 1973 approximately 200 Besotes speedboats were produced.
The Tahoe Maritime Museum is an excellent place to learn all about the wooden boat era at Lake Tahoe and across the country. This article is just a very small sample of the classic wooden boat story. There is much more to learn at the museum. I would recommend a visit to this unique museum anytime your travels take you to beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The museum is located at 401 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA. For additional information on current exhibits, events, etc, see website www.tahoemaritimemuseum.org. 

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips) 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Marble Falls,Texas in the Scenic Hill Country

There is a falls at Marble Falls, Texas. It is a twenty-two foot ledge of pink Texas marble on the Colorado River, now hidden by Lake Marble Falls. Early travelers referred to these falls as the "great falls" or the "marble falls" of the Colorado River as early as 1817.

shopping marble falls texas
Historic District
Marble Falls is in the scenic Texas Hill Country only about 45 miles west / northwest of Austin and about 85 miles north of San Antonio in Burnet County Texas.

The Founding of Marble Falls 

General Adam R. Johnson traveled to Texas in 1854, viewed the falls and surrounding countryside, and knew he wanted to make Marble Falls his home. He returned to his native Kentucky to fight in the Civil War, tragically losing his eyesight. Never forgetting his dream, Johnson returned to Marble Falls and officially founded the city in 1887.

Historic Main Street District 

Come and experience the unique culture of Historic Downtown Marble Falls. Market Day on Main is the perfect time to get out, explore downtown and shop artisan goods from around the Hill Country.
For exact dates, check on website....www.marblefalls.org/events/2018/marketday. 

uptown theater marble falls
Uptown Theater
Historic Buildings / Uptown Theater

The venue opened in the 1942 and served primarily as an audience hall for traveling entertainment but eventually began showing movies.
“Every town in the old days had a movie theater,” Buster said. “That was the center of the entertainment and social interaction.”

At one point, a fire damaged the building, closing it for a period of time. It re-opened in the 1990s as the Marble Theater. When a multiplex theater opened in town, the venue closed again to be re-opened in 2004 by Buster and Blake, who invested tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades, including renovations of the current Uptown sign uncovered beneath a previous one. They even inherited an old gas-powered projector, weighing thousands of pounds. During the peak of the venue’s success, Buster was booking 40-50 musicians and live shows a year, but the facility has not experienced a resurgence in popularity since then.

The Highland Lakes of Central Texas

Marble Falls is the northern gateway to the Highland Lakes area of Central Texas.

The Highland Lakes  are a chain of seven lakes along Texas' Colorado River beginning  85 miles northwest of Austin and ending in Austin.  The Highland Lakes are named Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake.

The lakes offer excellent recreational activities like boating, water skiing, tubing and fishing.

Longhorn Caverns 

Longhorn Cavern State Park is 645 acres of rugged Texas Hill Country between Marble Falls and Burnet in Burnet County. The state acquired Longhorn Cavern from private owners in 1932 to 1937. The park opened in 1938. Enjoy the walking tour through the caverns where you'll see fascinating stalagmites and stalactites created by seeping water.

marble falls texas attractions
Longhorn Caverns State Park
Longhorn Caverns was used for a variety of purposes during the last two centuries. The cave has provided shelter since prehistoric times. Some of the earliest visitors were the area’s prehistoric peoples. They used the large room next to the main entrance for shelter.

Anglo settlers discovered the cave in the mid 1800's and mined bat guano during the Civil War to make gunpowder for the Confederacy. During the Prohibition era the Main Room in the cavern was used as a speakeasy with music and dancing.

See additional Western Trips articles found on the links below....

Visit Historic Llano Texas

Visit Burnet Texas

Visit Kerrville Texas

lake marble falls
Colorado River / Lake Marble Falls
The Falls on the Colorado Museum

The museum, located in the historic 1891 Granite School on the campus of Marble Falls Elementary School, tells local history of Marble Falls and the surrounding communities. Artifacts, documents, photos, books and culturally important icons and memorabilia on display..

Marble Falls is on the Colorado River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 281 and Farm Road 1431, thirteen miles southeast of Burnet in southern Burnet County. 

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marble falls texas downtown

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips) 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Columbia River Maritime Museum / Astoria Oregon

The Columbia River Maritime Museum located in Astoria, Oregon is a truly unique travel stop and great for people of all ages. This a a fascinating museum that showcases all things Columbia River as well as the Pacific Ocean that the river feeds into. There is quite a lot to this museum and you may spend up to two well spent hours viewing and learning about all the interesting exhibits. 

columbia river museum
Founded in 1962, it is considered one of the finest maritime museums on the West Coast.
The museum is the only official maritime museum in Oregon. The museum is operated by a private nonprofit organization that is funded through membership dues, contributions and admission fees. It features every aspect of the Columbia river. This includes displays on commerce, industry, wildlife and even war. The museum showcases to two bodies of water... the Colombia River and the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River Bar

The Columbia River Bar is located at the intersection of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. The area where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. Here is why....

A bar is a shallow area of sand or mud, usually deposited near the mouth of a bay or river. When a fast-moving river slows down to meet the ocean, it deposits tons of silt and mud that it carries. This bar forms a natural barrier, typically extending across the river or bay entrance, Even today, crossing the bar can be a trying ordeal depending on the winds, possibility of fog and the tides. Another factor is how well the ship may be loaded with freight and the channel depth which varies significantly between the river and ocean.

Today, ships entering or exiting the Columbia River require the services of a highly skilled and licensed bar pilot. Because of the possibilities for extreme weather and sea conditions on the bar, the licensing standards for Columbia River Bar Pilots are the highest in the nation.

columbia river bar
Mariners refer to the Columbia River bar as the Graveyard of the Pacific, with about 2,000 vessel, including 200 large ships, having sunk right there since 1792. The museum highlights the extreme forces at work along the Columbia River Bar. Learn about waves that can exceed 40 feet in height during the most severe winter storms. See exciting exhibits on the U.S. Coast Guard and the Columbia River Bar Pilots.

Witness the legendary salmon fishing runs and take a tour of a floating lighthouse, the lightship Columbia. There were some five different lightships with the name Columbia stationed at the mouth of the Columbia River. The last one was designated WLV-604. The Columbia is a 128-foot welded-steel lightship which was built in 1950. The lightship had ten men on duty at all times. The ship was decommissioned in 1979 and made it;s way to the Columbia River Maritime Museum in 1980. She is the first vessel in Oregon to be placed on the National Register.

Museum Collections

The Columbia River Maritime Museum specializes in collecting and exhibiting maritime artifacts from the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest. The Museum’s collection, made up of artifacts collected since its opening, has grown to more than 30,000 objects, 20,000 photographs, and a 10,000-volume research library. Combined, these resources make the Columbia River Maritime Museum one of the foremost repositories of Pacific Northwest maritime artifacts in the country.

columbia lightship
Tour a floating lighthouse, see a WWII bridge, and admire a scabbard from a shipwreck. See sailing gill net boats that used to run on the Columbia River fishing for salmon. Also, detailed information about the ship wrecks on the bar and models of ships that sailed on the Columbia. The museum has an interactive shipwreck map that shows the loss both the wind and waves have caused over the last 200 years at the Columbia River Bar.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum is pleased to present classes in wooden boat building and courses in traditional maritime crafts at the Barbey Maritime Center. They are drawn from both Western and Native American maritime cultures and are suitable for a wide variety of interests and skill levels.

Additional Western Trips articles are found on the links below....

Historic Oregon City

The Columbia River Gorge

Visiting the Columbia River Maritime Museum

coast guard vessels
Today, the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s reputation for the quality of its exhibits and the scope of its collections makes it one of the finest maritime museums in the nation. It was the first museum in Oregon to meet national accreditation standards, and has been designated the official state maritime museum of Oregon.

The Museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the waterfront in beautiful downtown Astoria, Oregon. The museum is located at 1792 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR.

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)

Monday, June 4, 2018

San Francisco / Fisherman's Wharf to the Historic Ferry Building

Fisherman's Wharf

Encompassing the northern waterfront of San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf can be considered the city's top tourist attraction. At one time Fisherman's Wharf was home to the city's very active fishing fleet that numbered some 500 vessels.

fishermans wharf boats
Fishing fleet
Most often today Fisherman's Wharf is the first area a new tourist to San Francisco visits. Souvenir shops and stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls are found on the walkways. You'll find many excellent restaurants throughout the Wharf area featuring fresh seafood and excellent Italian cuisine. Looking for great photo opportunities and you'll experience a colony of sea lions and two historic ships to tour. These are the World War Two USS Pampanito submarine and the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien.

Ghirardelli Square is located adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf and is an iconic landmark steeped in the history of San Francisco. At Ghirardelli Square, boutiques and eateries reside in the famous former chocolate factory. 

hyde street pier san francisco
Hyde Street Pier Entrance
The Hyde Street Pier is a historic ferry pier just to the north of Fisherman's Wharf. This is a part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

In addition to several historic vessels, some of which you can board and tour, you'll also be able to explore the historic old car ferry Eureka which plied the waters of San Francisco Bay during the early part of the 1900's. Many fine time period exhibits are on the Eureka including a display of classic cars and trucks from the first half of the 1900's. 
The Fisherman's Wharf area hosts many annual events such as a great fireworks display in July to Fleet Week and Holiday festivities. The San Francisco Bay tour boat fleets are located just to the north of Pier 39.
The San Francisco Bay cruise is one of the must do's in San Francisco. See the sights along the waterfront, Alcatraz Island and a trip under the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep in mind that there are also sport fishing charters available as well.

Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39

sea lions california
Sea Lions off Pier 39
Pier 39 is a very popular waterfront marketplace on the southern edge of Fisherman's Wharf. It is constructed on a 1,000 foot long pier and surrounded by small boat marinas. 

Lots of shops and plenty of excellent restaurants offering a large variety of cuisine. On top of that Pier 39 offers tremendous views of San Francisco Bay and the city. You'll also find the Aquarium of the Bay where you can observe the beauty and diversity of Northern California aquatic life. Add to that Pier 39's colony of sea lions typically resting on floating wood platforms. 

The Exploratorium

exploratorium san francisco
Exploratorium at Pier 15
The Exploratorium is a museum in San Francisco that allows visitors to explore the world through science, art, and human perception. Its mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. It is located between the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 15. The museum is large and filled with fun and knowledge and it is said by many to occupy first place among museums in San Francisco.

See these additional Western Trips articles found on the links below.... 

The San Francisco Cable Car Museum

Tour the USS Pampanito World War Two Submarine

The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero
The Ferry Building could be the most identifiable building in San Francisco. It is also very popular with tourists and locals alike. 
The Ferry Building was constructed in 1898 by noted architect Arthur Page Brown. The most recognizable feature on the Ferry Building is the clock tower rising 235 feet and visible for much of the length of Market Street.The clock faces on the tower were the largest in the United States at the time. It was noted that the tower was modeled after the Giralda of the Cathedral of Seville .

ferry building san francisco
The Ferry Building
The building opened to the public in July, 1898. The Colusa limestone building replaced an earlier wooden terminal located at the same location. The Ferry Building was used as San Francisco's main transportation hub for a half-century and the most significant building to survive the devastating 1906 Earthquake.

Today. the San Francisco Ferry Building is many things. It serves as a pier for passenger ferries that traverse San Francisco Bay, a large marketplace and an office building.The Ferry building offers a unique shopping experience. Not only is there great produce when the farmers markets are running, but the shops and restaurants inside the Ferry Building are excellent.

(Photos are copyright Western Trips) 

alcatraz island san francisco bay
Alcatraz Island as seen from Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf restaurants
san francisco skyline
Skyline from Pier 39
trolleys san francisco
Trolleys that serve the Wharf and Embarcadero


Friday, May 11, 2018

Kerrville, Texas / History and Arts in the Hill Country

Kerrville is a scenic and vibrant community located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country and along the beautiful Guadalupe River. What is now Kerrville in Kerr County was first referred to as "Brownsborough," but after the area was formally platted in 1856 by James Kerr, a major in the Texas Revolution, the settlement was formally changed to "Kerrville" .

historic kerrville texas
Kerrville's significance dates from a series of events starting in 1857. This is when German master miller Christian Dietert and millwright Balthasar Lich started a large grist and saw mill on the bluff. Their mill, with a non stop source of power from the river and protection from floods, became the most extensive operation of its kind in the Texas Hill Country west of New Braunfels and San Antonio. 

Mercantile and freighting businesses was the main endeavor of the Charles A. Schreiner family empire. These included retail, wholesale, banking, ranching, marketing, and brokering operations-which during the next fifty years became the economic engine of Kerrville and the Hill Country. 

Today, Kerrville Texas is known for their excellent museums, theaters, art galleries, shopping options, and healthcare facilities. Kerrville Texas features diverse musical and theater arts groups. In addition to this, the Guadalupe River is lined with gorgeous parks. 

Below are just some of the activities and festivals that take place annually in Kerrville along with some historical structures.

Annual Memorial Day Weekend Art Show / Kerrville Festival of the Arts

Annual Memorial Day weekend art show held in the historic downtown Kerrville area, featuring about 100 artists and fine craftsmen. Admission and parking is free and food vendors are on site

Kerrville Folk Festival

Founded by Rod Kennedy, the Kerrville Folk Festival has run annually since 1972. This festival is the longest continuously running music festival of its kind in North America. The Kerrville Folk Festival is a music festival held for 18 consecutive days in the late spring/early summer at the
Quiet Valley Ranch, about nine miles south of town.

The event draws around 30,000 people per year. There is a yearly competition to discover promising new singer-songwriters called the New Folk Competition. Thirty-two finalists are selected from a field of 800 entries to share two of their original songs in an afternoon appearance on the stage of the Threadgill Theater. Over the course of the 18 days and nights, activities are provided for all ages with a focus on nurturing and developing artistic expression, especially the art of songwriting, in a loving family-friendly environment.

Some of the events held at the Kerrville Folk Festival include a Songwriters’ School.  Held in the Kennedy Outdoor Theater which provides plenty of room for break-out sessions. The Songwriters School has been been in existence for thirty five years. Also, a Guitar workshop for all skill levels, harmonica workshops and a lot more.

Detailed information about this year's event can be found at www.kerrvillefolkfestival.org

Kerrville Fall Music Festival

Celebrate wine and music during Labor Day weekend at the annual Kerrville Fall Music Festival in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. 

schreiner house kerrville texas
Schreiner House

The Schreiner House 

After serving in the Confederate Army in the Civil War for several years, Captain Charles Schreiner returned to his family ranch on Turtle Creek. A few years later, the Schreiner family moved to town. 

The original Schreiner home was a frame building where the mansion now sits. In 1879, Capt. Schreiner commissioned San Antonino architect Alfred Giles, to design his new home. The mansion was constructed in three phases and was completed in 1897. 

The original six- bedroom, two-story home, constructed by expert German masons, was the first limestone home in Kerrville. It was also the first home in Kerrville to have electric lights. The light fixtures that began as candles and kerosene were later converted to gas which was pumped form the basement, and then to electric fixtures.

Although the mansion has changed ownership through the years, the Schreiners were the only family that ever lived there. After Charles Schreiner's death on February 9, 1927, his heirs transferred ownership to the Kerrville Masonic-Lodge. In 1972 Mrs. Roland Walters of Camp Verde, Texas, purchased the structure and sold it to the Hill Country Preservation Society, Inc. in 1975. The Preservation Society made many repairs to the home. Visitors today will see features including several original gas fixtures, mantles, and parquet flooring on the first floor.

Kerr Arts and Cultural Center

Kerrville is widely renowned as the Texas Hill Country Arts destination, and its large array of artists and craftsmen is a point of pride in the community.

kerrville arts and cultural center
Kerr Arts & Cultural Center
KACC was founded in 1995 by a group of community artists with the goal of providing a show place for local artists, and furthering the arts and culture education of the entire community. The KACC organization began its early years moving from one location to another, hosting art shows and art education.

With the help of James Avery and Bank of The Hills, KACC bought the Kerrville Post Office in July of 1999, and held the first show in March 2000. Many years spent revovating transformed the building’ interior into a beautiful art gallery complete with adapt educational facilities.

The mission of the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center is to be a catalyst for enriching the cultural life of the community and supporting artists of the Hill Country through exhibitions, instruction in the arts and fine crafts, and educational programs for adults and young people. More information can be found at....www.kacckerville.com

Additional Western Trips articles about Texas Hill Country travel include....

Nimitz Museum Fredericksburg, TX

Historic Llano, TX

The Museum of Western Art 

kerrville western art museum
The Museum of Western Art
 The Museum of Western Art opened on April 23rd, 1983, and was first known as the Cowboy Artists of America Museum. Since the museum's opening, thousands of visitors have walked the Museum galleries and have seen the West brought to life through the unique artwork on view.

The stories the museum presents is comprehensive. The hardworking cowboys, Native Americans, women of the West, settlers, mountain men and others are featured through various themed exhibits. Through other exhibitions, the history of famous ranches as well as other diverse aspects of our Western heritage are shared with ever increasing audiences. In addition, educators, students, writers, and the public make use of the museum’s 6000 volume Western art and history research library, the Griff Carnes Research Center.  

As you can see from the above, there are plenty of fun and educational events throughout the year in Kerrville, Texas and this is just a small sample. The fact that all this is available in the scenic Texas Hill Country makes your trip there that much more fun.  

For more detailed information on events and festivals and exact dates including hotel and dining choices, see the information at the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau at.....www.kerrvilletexascvb.com 


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